Boere Sports Patagonia
Eduardo G. Monteagudo
In the beginning of the 20th century, when the first Boer settlers arrived in the Patagonian province of Chubut after the Anglo-Boer War, they lived for some time in tents until each family was given the government assigned land. During this period of time, the different families not only became friends but also started feeling like one large family. An important bond had been built.
Once each family received the allotted land, where they would settle, people felt sad at the time of departure and wondered how would they see each other again. For this reason, three years later the Boeresports were created as a sports competition and rendezvous.
People were so happy to meet again that they celebrated for eight full days with traditional Boer dances and dishes. Since then, this festivity has been held every February for three days where different sports competitions take place and where traditional “lang arm” dances and food is served.
The location of the place is called Sierra Chaira, in the middle of the central Patagonian plateau about 170 km west from the city of Comodoro Rivadavia, an important petroleum center. The site where the competitions take place is a pan at the foot of this flat mountain range.
A large barn is used for dances in the evenings. Families camp on either side of the barn. This site has been chosen because it is approximately the same distance from where most of the Boer descendants live today.
Sierra Chaira’s geography is the typical Patagonian desert where there are only shrubs and bushes similar to the Karoo. However, the land is far from flat, it is full of valleys, depressions and pans, elevations and sierras.
You drive along an area you think is absolutely flat and suddenly you come to an enormous valley hundreds of meters below you, which is actually breathtaking. You go all the way down and around the far limit of the valley to go all the way up again. And then, once you reached the top, again you see more emptiness as far as the eyesight can reach.
This place is pristine, the activities have low environmental impact since the place has not changed in almost one hundred years. If you are a good observer you will see plenty of wildlife; birds, lizards, guanacos, rheas, rodents, etc. You can also find fossils if you have enough patience.
Obviously, the roads are rough and unpaved and a four wheel drive vehicle is convenient. For those who are interested in the preservation of the Boer culture in Patagonia and those who love the outdoors, wildlife and camping this is the right place to visit. Everyone is welcome to come and participate.
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Die Boere in vandag se ArgentiniŽ
How the Boers Tamed Patagonia
Orville Boyd Jenkins
Posted on OJTR 25 February 2011
Copyright © 2011 Eduardo G. Monteagudo
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